By Jeff Peet, Managing Editor, ALA News.
In the context of long-standing economic-trade relations of great importance for both Chile and Greece, both countries signed an Air Services Agreement at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Athens that will further consolidate bilateral ties. On the Greek side, the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Konstantinos Fragkogiannis, participated and on behalf of Chile, the Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic and concurrent in Cyprus, Ximena Ares.
“This agreement reinforces a very fluid bilateral relationship and will allow the promotion of greater economic cooperation between both countries, facilitating the exchange of tourists and weekly flights between Santiago and Athens,” said Ambassador Ares.
The agreement establishes a modern and dynamic legal framework, which will result in:
– Operators of both countries expanding their networks, including direct flights, flights with stopovers and codeshare, favoring Chile’s connectivity not only with Greece, but also with the rest of the world through the eastern Mediterranean nation.
– An unlimited number of weekly air frequencies between both countries, with 3rd and 4th freedom rights. Likewise, the aeronautical authorities are empowered to enable air rights operations with 5th and 6th freedom, and,
– An unlimited framework for air services in terms of routes, frequencies and type of aircraft, whether owned or leased, which provides greater operational flexibility.
Regarding air operators, Chile and Greece agreed on a different airline designation system for each party, adapting to European regulations. They also established tariff freedom and the principle of double disapproval, which means that airlines can charge the rates they want according to considerations of their commercial market and that the intervention of both parties in this matter will be limited to avoiding prices or discriminatory practices.
On commitments, each party can now grant to the designated airlines of the other, the right to sell air transport services and transfer the income they obtain freely. In addition, the possibility is established for the airlines of both countries to offer or provide services through various business collaboration agreements, such as shared codes, space blocks or other forms of cooperation.
Finally, it should be noted that all the elements contained in this Agreement establish the principle of fair and equitable opportunity to compete, in a context of free competition.
Bilateral trade between Chile and Greece reached US$71 million during 2020. Chilean exports to Greece totaled US $ 25 million and imports, US $ 46 million, which shows a favorable trade balance for the European nation.
“These figures place Greece as Chile’s seventeenth trading partner, among the member states of the European Union. In addition, it should be noted that the European bloc is the first source of foreign investment in Chile and our third trade partner, after China and the United States ”, concluded the chief of the Chilean diplomatic mission in the Hellenic Republic.
The ceremony and exchange of the signed documents by both countries took place on 27 May 2021.